Being immersed as I am at the moment with our annual carboNZero audit – the time when we measure and quantify the results of the actions we have taken to reduce the Winery and Estate’s carbon footprint – it is not too surprising that this has me ‘Thinking Out Loud’ about all things environment.
While our audit is underway I have also been working on our revised Environmental Plan. It has been no small feat pulling together all of projects both past and present, but I think I’m there.
Writing the plan reminded me of the really interesting work the team has been implementing. It has been an inspiring process and so I thought I’d share some of that inspiration by talking about three projects which are pretty special.
The Insectarium is our special name for the vegetation corridor we have planted near mud-bridge. The aim is to attract some special little creatures to assist us with controlling the light brown apple moth (LBAM). In amongst this corridor you will find white and yellow flowering plants to attract Trichogramma wasp and the brown lacewing, both predators of the LBAM. With any luck these predators will eat the LBAM at the larval stage of the moth’s lifecycle. While we haven’t completed any bug counts as yet we hope the Insectarium will reduce this pest risk so we can apply fewer or no chemicals.
Heat Reflective Paint
Due to the design of the Tahbilk Cafe we used to have a lot of issues with the venue overheating in summer. To the point where we needed to run all air conditioners overnight just to keep the place cool for patrons in the morning. The electricity use was not acceptable, nor was the unbearable heat.
In February 2012 we painted the roof with heat reflective paint. Since applying the paint the Cafe has become a far more pleasant experience in summer and we have significantly reduced
our air conditioner use. So, next time you are near the Cafe make sure you look up.
Refrigeration Plant Improvement
Only recently we participated in the Smarter Resources Smarter Business program with Sustainability Victoria. As part of this program we implemented variable speed drives (VSDs) and pressure transducers on three condenser cooling water pumps and on a cooling fan tower. A VSD is a piece of equipment that regulates the speed and rotational force of an electric motor. Implementing the VSD saves energy consumption because it will change the speed of an electrical motor by controlling the power that is fed in to the machine. It is estimated the
introduction of the VSDs will reduce our annual energy consumption by 2000 kWh per year.
Reviewing our Environmental Plan has been fantastic and our plans for the next five years are exciting. Measuring our carbon footprint is enabling us to deliver a sustainable product which you and future generations can continue to enjoy for a long time to come.
To that I say, bottoms up.